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Blended learning: simply the BeST!

Did you have to sit through debates listening to experts arguing which is better: simulation or real life training; eLearning or attending a traditional tutorial; OSCEs or workplace-based assessments? Well, the short answer is that they are all good but none is that good on its own.

Blended or hybrid learning aims to combine the flexibility and convenience of online learning with interaction and feedback from a clinical trainer; hence, overcoming the disadvantages of each modality when used on its own. Blended learning enables trainees to plan and personalise their training and enhance their learning experience and its outputs.

We have recently launched a state-of-the-art Blended eLearning and Simulation Training (BeST) resource on StratOG. The overall aim of the BeST programme is to provide trainees with access to a structured framework for training; integrating online knowledge-based resources and assessment, technology (simulation) enhanced learning, suggestions for workplace-based training and reflective learning.

BeST is designed to help trainees structure their training, from the initial stages of gaining theoretical knowledge and practising on a simulator, through to performing a particular procedure on a patient and reflecting on the outcome. We believe that this will be relevant for trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology globally.

Each BeST programme will have a slightly different structure depending on the requirements of the topic but, as a minimum, each programme will contain the levels of Miller’s pyramid (illustrated):

BeST structure

  1. Knows:
    1. An eLearning-based theoretical component
    2. Online assessment of the knowledge theoretical component
  2. Knows How: Simulation component
  3. Shows: Directions to perform a workplace task, followed by reflection
  4. Does: Resulting in competent performance of the procedure.

The first two BeST programmes were developed by the BeST team, headed up by Alison Gale, Khaled Ismail, Kathleen Merrick, Stuart Rundle and Natalie Woodhead, and was launched at the National Trainees Conference on 10–11 December 2015.


Miller GE. The assessment of clinical skills/competence/performance. Acad Med1990;65 (suppl):S63–67.

Alison Gale

Dr Alison Gale FRCOG 

Dr Gale is the RCOG Simulation Adviser and lead editor of the ROBuST package. She has a long-standing interest in medical education, with the ultimate aim of improving patient safety. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Educators and has a Masters degree in Medical Education, the subject of her thesis being simulation.

Khalid Ismail

Professor Khaled Ismail FRCOG

Professor Ismail is the RCOG Honorary Director of eLearning. He is one of the lead authors of the MaternityPEARLS training package. He has long standing experience in multiprofessional training to enhance the implementation of evidence into practice using improvement science methodologies.